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RPGaDay2021 Prompts Day 1: Scenario (and Shandification)

Mistress Of The Obvious





Despite the fact that the amount of tabletop roleplaying I have been fortunate to experience can be counted on one hand, I follow what’s going on in that world closely. I look to it for ideas, concepts, and similarities in the socio-political sphere. Each year there is a prompt calendar in August for the tabletop roleplaying world to answer in whatever way they see fit. I’m rather quiet and being a new member of staff, I thought I would partake. It also helps promote my site I plan to open up after the holiday season.  


Of course, it is long since past August, but I was sick with two internal infections and am now feeling better. I don’t expect to be able to do this thirty one days straight. The idea is just to get each one done. For a few, I might not be able to think of anything interesting and will provide a youtube video or use an alternate prompt from a different day. Everyone is free to use the blog section to partake. I’m interested in seeing others thoughts. With that out of the way, let’s start with prompt 1: Scenario.


I looked up various dictionary definitions as well as people who responded to this one to get a feel. My favorite that I found the most relevant to rp was on one blog (which of course I can’t find now) that defined scenario as an incomplete story or a story in motion. He stated that a story is something complete and whether or not fiction depicts the past. 


What I see my position as an admin is to create a world that allows for the most Shandification. Shandification is a term created by the youtuber MrBTongue regarding narrative. To sum it up, movies and television stories typically go from A – B – C – D. This is just a snapshot of what’s actually going on. 


Events happened prior to cause A. B likely didn’t happen solely because of A, but also other events, interactions, and even characters we are not seeing on the screen. His definition of Shandification is: A shandified story is one where the narrative is free to move in its own direction and pace in a setting well realized enough to allow this freedom of movement.


If we look at A – B – C – D to be the plot or series of threads and events between two characters, both of those characters are interacting with other characters causing and affecting those events. Character 1 has not only the above plot with Character 2, but also with Character 3 that Character 2 has never met. In addition people leave, things come up, new ideas come forth, causing the plot between Characters 1 and 2 to end up being A – B – E – H.


Going back to the world of tabletop, a game master’s role is to run a scenario. The players will eventually not notice what the gm wanted, notice things that gm never noticed, and the player characters will go off in a new and different direction. A good gm will let their players do this while hitting the essence of the original campaign allowing for a unique scenario. The other option is to try to force the players back to the original concept, which is referred to as railroading and is widely disapproved of.


I see an rp site as a complex clock. Each post and thread being winding gears and pistons. The site forum itself being the frame and the characters being the bird that pops out each hour. It’s always moving and even when it stops or breaks it can always be repaired and brought back to life. Unlike a clock, the members of a site can grow bored and restless, taking their gears, pistons, and birds to another clock. This makes Shandification all the more important and going back to the definition a well realized setting is key. The big question is how do we do that? That goes into day 2’s prompt. 


Here's MrBTongue's Shandification Video


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